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  • FIRST POST
    • Widelats
    • By Widelats 15th Jan 11, 3:35 PM
    • 3,641Posts
    • 2,716Thanks
    Widelats
    Warning and advice about LCS Utility Investigation Civil Enforcement Debt Recoveries
    • #1
    • 15th Jan 11, 3:35 PM
    Warning and advice about LCS Utility Investigation Civil Enforcement Debt Recoveries 15th Jan 11 at 3:35 PM
    I got a letter asking me to provide info of my name (they don't know), length of time at the address i just moved into (they have no clue), name of previous occupier (they have no idea), forwarding address of previous occupier (they are stumped), landlords name and telephone number (like it wasn't already given to them by british gas) and any other info i deem relevant to this enquiry. I know that this is stage 1 in their bully campaign, i will soon receive letters telling me i owe them money for the previous tenants bills to British Gas.

    All they do is buy the debt from British Gas and then bully people to get the debt paid, that is how they make their money and they use some horrible tactics to do it on innocent people.

    Having dealt with these LCS bullies before, the very best advice i can give to anyone who gets their letters is screw the letter up and put it in your bin, do not respond to them by any means, they have to go to court for debt recovery and it will cost them dearly when they lose the case.

    British Gas are also to blame, it seems British Gas do not inform this company of any other details except there is a bill outstanding.

    If LCS pay you a visit politely tell them on your doorstep to get lost and that you do not wish to help them with their enquiries at all, give them no information whatsoever.

    This company is nothing but a debt collection service, they have no right to visit you or demand monies unless they can prove you are the debtor.
    Owed out = lots.
Page 14
    • NonnyMouse
    • By NonnyMouse 25th Jan 17, 10:16 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    NonnyMouse
    Facts
    I'd like to share a few facts and information about LCS that some may find useful when dealing with them. I do not work for LCS or the parent company.

    By LCS I am talking about Leeds Consultancy Services, a trading style of their parent company.

    LCS is in the financial sector and thus is regulated by all of the relevant bodies, their letters state this at the bottom in fine print - anyone who receives a letter from them should check this out, it contains some interesting information.

    LCS will not take any legal action against you for debt collection purposes, all that they can do in most cases is send letters, try to telephone, text, or email you. If they fail to collect the debt in a certain period of time then the case will likely pass to another debt collection agency and so the process will start again.

    If you receive an LCS letter it will be either because your address was the last known point of contact provided by the energy company to LCS for an owed amount, or because LCS have traced the amount using various tools at their disposal as far as they were able, which might include data from Companies House, electoral roll, and similar registries most or all of which are publicly available (some at a price).

    What should you do? First thing is to always take meter readings, photograph the meters if you can as proof, and provide them to your energy company so that you have concrete evidence of start and end meter readings for the precise dates you started and ended living in a property, whether you were a tenant or the owner. Also keep any tenancy agreements for several years to use as proof. If you are a landlord then take the readings when a tenant moves in or out, again photographs are good evidence so long as they clearly show the readings.

    You should not ignore a letter or phone call, you should get in touch by telephone and provide proof of where you were living during the dates specified on the letter, it may be that the energy company billing department made a mistake and it is your bill after all, or it may be someone else's; it will be down to you to prove that you were living somewhere else for part or all of the period if you intend to contest part or all of the debt.

    You should beware though... there have been copycat LCS letters which may be physhing for your information, these are not sent by LCS. If you are in any doubt about the authenticity of an LCS letter (or any other debt collection request) then get in touch with the energy company referenced by it, confirm that the debt has been passed to LCS for collection.
    LCS letters are normally sent in franked envelopes with a return address on the back, i.e. they won't be sent with a 2nd class stamp on. The paper LCS letters are printed on should normally be heavier than typical inkjet paper (which is usually 80gsm), look out for tell-tale signs such as poorly photocopied headers or envelope markings.

    If you know that the debt is yours to pay then it's possible you could pay direct to the energy company (or other) instead of dealing with LCS, but you must inform LCS that this is what you are doing, they will need to confirm this with their client at which point LCS should halt their activities and pass the case back to the client.

    As you can see, there's a lot to know about LCS and I'm sure other debt collection agencies. Since many new regulations have come into force in the financial sector over the past few years LCS has changed the way it operates, complaints about the company's operating tactics from a few years ago are probably mostly irrelevant now, they are so closely scrutinised by the regulators and clients (because the clients have to comply with the regulations too). Any complaints should be forwarded to LCS where they will be heard, recorded and dealt with.

    I'm not particularly defending the actions of LCS nor condemning them, merely stating some facts which I hope will be helpful to people here.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 25th Jan 17, 11:46 PM
    • 11,539 Posts
    • 8,674 Thanks
    fatbelly
    Probably worth re-posting the notice that the OFT issued to their parent body in 2009:

    1st Locate (UK) Limited (Consumer Credit Licence Number 468413), registered office address:
    3 Leodis Court, LEEDS LS11 5JJ.
    The OFT require as follows:
    1) That 1st Locate (UK) Limited shall not require an individual to supply information to prove that they are not the debtor and shall not engage in any business practices that misleadingly suggest or imply that it is in the individual"s interests to supply such information.
    2) That 1st Locate (UK) Limited shall use only those trading names which are specified in its consumer credit licence.
    and a reminder that CONC 7.14 is a rule, not guidance:
    A firm must suspend any steps it takes or its agent takes in the recovery of a debt from a customer where the customer disputes the debt on valid grounds or what may be valid grounds.

    Where a customer disputes a debt on valid grounds or what may be valid grounds, the firm must investigate the dispute and provide details of the debt to the customer in a timely manner

    A firm must provide a customer with information on the outcome of its investigations into a debt which the customer disputed on valid grounds.

    Where a customer disputes a debt and the firm seeking to recover the debt is not the lender or the owner, the firm must: (1) pass the information provided by the customer to the lender or the owner; or (2) if the firm has authority from the lender or owner to investigate a dispute, it must notify the lender or owner of the outcome of the investigation
    • Johnd1275
    • By Johnd1275 8th Feb 17, 10:53 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Johnd1275
    Can anyone help me.
    Im paying off a bill from LCS on belalf of HMRC. Do i continue to pay this every month or should i stop?
    • adusiiaa
    • By adusiiaa 17th Feb 17, 10:17 AM
    • 10 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    adusiiaa
    Default Warning
    Hi,

    Having read this thread i was hoping someone would be able to help me. I also received this letter from LCS. My dates are from the beginning of my tenancy to my last day. I was a student living with 5 other people in the property, my name was not even on the bill. Now i call them up and this rude lady wanted me to pay very quickly, i think she also took advantage of me tearing up on the phone. She said i am the one liable for the bill, even though there were 6 tenants. Now this was 7 months after i moved out of the property, and even though the dates are correct on the letter i have never received a bill. I believe if the bill exists it must have been sent to the previous address or my letting agency, which i was not informed at all...
    My question is... Am i really the only one liable for this? and if i never received a bill or any sort of contact about the outstanding amount, am i legally right?

    What do i do now? email them? i emailed SSE energy and my letting agency already. I am just so worried about getting the default even though the process of receiving this bill will take more than the 7 days i have to pay.
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 17th Feb 17, 2:20 PM
    • 11,539 Posts
    • 8,674 Thanks
    fatbelly
    Hi,

    Having read this thread i was hoping someone would be able to help me. I also received this letter from LCS. My dates are from the beginning of my tenancy to my last day. I was a student living with 5 other people in the property, my name was not even on the bill. Now i call them up and this rude lady wanted me to pay very quickly, i think she also took advantage of me tearing up on the phone. She said i am the one liable for the bill, even though there were 6 tenants. Now this was 7 months after i moved out of the property, and even though the dates are correct on the letter i have never received a bill. I believe if the bill exists it must have been sent to the previous address or my letting agency, which i was not informed at all...
    My question is... Am i really the only one liable for this? and if i never received a bill or any sort of contact about the outstanding amount, am i legally right?

    What do i do now? email them? i emailed SSE energy and my letting agency already. I am just so worried about getting the default even though the process of receiving this bill will take more than the 7 days i have to pay.
    Originally posted by adusiiaa
    Hi

    Now you've read this thread you know that these people are pond life who should have their FCA licence revoked.

    Do not believe their lies; do not phone them; take no notice of their timescales.

    What you need to do is send a prove-it and see if what evidence (hard evidence, paperwork) they come back with. Send it by old-fashioned mail.
    • Cozx
    • By Cozx 10th Mar 17, 11:04 AM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Cozx
    A letter from LCS just arrived at our property today. I'm hesitant to contact them because of what has been written previously. In the letter we received, no company has been named with regards to the debt. No dates have been mentioned. They don't use our names and have their registered address as being on Woodhouse Lane in Leeds. They ask for all the info mentioned in previous posts. However, this is an owned property, so there is no landlord. Well, there is... as this is a pub.
    The previous owners of this property have several debt collecting agencies chasing them and I have contacted each and every one and to be honest, I'm fed up of contacting them and passing on the previous owners' details. I know this debt isn't ours as I have been in contact with both energy suppliers that were connected to this property this week and have received a refund from the one and am getting a new meter from the other. We also pay bills by DD!
    I get enough nuisance calls as it is and don't want any more.
    What do you think?
    • sourcrates
    • By sourcrates 10th Mar 17, 11:44 AM
    • 12,471 Posts
    • 11,863 Thanks
    sourcrates
    A letter from LCS just arrived at our property today. I'm hesitant to contact them because of what has been written previously. In the letter we received, no company has been named with regards to the debt. No dates have been mentioned. They don't use our names and have their registered address as being on Woodhouse Lane in Leeds. They ask for all the info mentioned in previous posts. However, this is an owned property, so there is no landlord. Well, there is... as this is a pub.
    The previous owners of this property have several debt collecting agencies chasing them and I have contacted each and every one and to be honest, I'm fed up of contacting them and passing on the previous owners' details. I know this debt isn't ours as I have been in contact with both energy suppliers that were connected to this property this week and have received a refund from the one and am getting a new meter from the other. We also pay bills by DD!
    I get enough nuisance calls as it is and don't want any more.
    What do you think?
    Originally posted by Cozx
    Hi,

    Advice is simple.

    If its not your debt, and not your name on the letter, then stop right there.
    Put it back in the post marked "not at this address".

    Thats were your obligation ends.

    There are many stories of people been chased by debt collectors for someone elses debt, because they opened a letter intended for someone else.

    DO NOT GET INVOLVED is the best advice i can give you.
    I'm a Board Guide on the Debt-Free Wannabe, Credit File And Ratings, and
    Bankruptcy And Living With It, boards. "I volunteer to help get your forum questions answered and keep the forum running smoothly".
    Board guides are not moderators and don't read every post. If you spot an abusive or illegal post then please report it to forumteam@moneysavingexpert.com. Any views are mine and not the official line of MoneySavingExpert.com.

    For free debt advice, contact either : Stepchange, National Debtline, or, CAB.
    For Legal advice see : http://legalbeagles.info/
    • MrNormal
    • By MrNormal 15th Mar 17, 11:28 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    MrNormal
    Fake claim...
    I just got a letter from LCS claiming that I owe HMRC X amount of money as they've overpaid me in tax credits, and that I need to repay X amount. Only thing is, I've never had tax credits. Nice try...
    • AileenQ
    • By AileenQ 22nd Jun 17, 5:33 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    AileenQ
    Another Fake-ish Claim
    Very happy to find this thread as I've just received a letter from LCS for a debt from Scottish Power from an address in Edinburgh from 7 Feb 2017 - 16 March 2017.

    a)I haven't lived in Edinburgh for over three years
    b)I have never used Scottish Power to supply my utilities.

    The only thing that is semi-accurate is my 'new' address, which is a property I own, but is rented out! The debt is for my 'previous' address, the street number of which doesn't appear to exisit, which is probably why I've never lived there!!

    I will 'Return to Sender - Not Known At This Address'

    Thanks,
    Aileen
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 22nd Jun 17, 5:53 PM
    • 11,539 Posts
    • 8,674 Thanks
    fatbelly
    Not heard about this bunch for a bit. Doesn't seem they've improved.
    • LizzWright88
    • By LizzWright88 23rd Jun 17, 8:03 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    LizzWright88
    Hi! I am new to this website & joined purely to seek advice about LCS... I received a text message saying;

    Please contact LCS today regarding account number IDS000257**** on 0344 411 3254 quoting reference 1626****

    I ignored it thinking it was spam then they called me about an hour or so after. When I asked what it was regarding they said they couldn't tell me until I had passed the security questions to which I agreed to. They asked for my name & date of birth which I gave them then suddenly stopped & hung up as for obvious reasons, didn't want to give out my personal info over the phone.

    I googled LCS & found various answers about debt recovery, hmrc etc which scared me as I don't have any unpaid debt or receive any benefits etc.

    I just want peace of mind to know I should 100% ignore them? The calls were from Scarborough by the way.

    Any info would be great thanks.
    • LizzWright88
    • By LizzWright88 23rd Jun 17, 8:05 PM
    • 5 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    LizzWright88
    Exactly the same happened to me today! Did you ignore them?
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 23rd Jun 17, 8:45 PM
    • 11,539 Posts
    • 8,674 Thanks
    fatbelly
    I just want peace of mind to know I should 100% ignore them? The calls were from Scarborough by the way.

    Any info would be great thanks.
    Originally posted by LizzWright88
    They do have a call centre in Scarborough.

    It appears to have a high turnover of staff. Some comments from ex-employees:

    Horrible. The jobs boring, complicated and the wages are poor and the company expect you to learn everything about the job after a weeks crash training course and like to turn around and say "we've put a lot of time and effort into training you and we're not really seeing it' if you make a slight mistake. The job is often advertised, the staff turn over is high and most of the people that I started with left the company within 3 weeks
    Start with a two weeks training crash course and then on to the job which is terrible. 1st Locate is a harder job than it needs to be and the wages are shocking. One of the first things said to me in training was "80% of people leave their job as a result of not liking their employer", the trainer who said this has now left the company.
    Not good. I remember in training the instructor accidently mentioned that a lot of people here don't last long. I can see why. Works overly complicated, management are horrible and the money is so poor its ridicules. Wouldn't recommend this company to anybody.
    Started in a group of 10/12 people and a few weeks later there was hardly anyone left. The jobs dire and the company has an overly complicated way of conducting themselves. A small company but has a very high turnover of staff and the job of Tracer/Debt Recovery Agent is always advertised.
    Poorly managed from the start and has continued to remain poorly managed due to senior members of staff leaving the company and being replaced with younger staff members who have not got a clue what they are doing half the time. This job is suited to a college leaver/student/ someone going back to work after a gap of employment or who hasn't got a clue what they want to do in life. Not much progression at the company and salary is not worth the time you spend there being abused by the public on the phone and for the hard work and effort you put in daily that goes unoticed. Late shift times are silly 12pm until 8pm without a break after 5pm.
    If you are "caught" leaving your desk after 5pm you may be subject to disciplinary action. Poor Training. Childish behaviours from the majority of the staff members and team leaders. Overall a very immature and difficult company to work for.
    You've been contacted by 'tracing'. That involves finding some name and address with a tenuous connection to the original debtor.

    They should really be shut down.
    • Chilliflavour
    • By Chilliflavour 29th Jul 17, 7:14 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    Chilliflavour
    Utility Investigation letter
    Hi. Just registered to say that today I received one the LCS utility investigation letters FAO the occupier / landlord, asking for my name, date of occupancy, name of previous occupier if known etc. The same type of letter as mentioned many times in this thread.


    We bought this house just over 3 years ago and I know it was a rented property prior to that so I suspect one of the previous tenants or the landlord owes something as 100% sure it's nothing to do with me.


    First result in a Google search of LCS turned up this thread so just wanted to say thanks to all for the advice. I won't be responding to the letter in any way! Given the experiences of others in this thread I expect a barrage of letters in the upcoming weeks and I will keep you updated if that turns out to be the case.
    Last edited by Chilliflavour; 29-07-2017 at 7:17 PM. Reason: Typos
    • d000hg
    • By d000hg 8th Aug 17, 2:25 PM
    • 101 Posts
    • 11 Thanks
    d000hg
    I found this thread as the first result when searching for "0344 5439084", following texts "Please contact LCS regarding your British Gas account".
    I've started getting these texts about once a week and have had one phone call (voicemail) from them, the last couple of months.

    I am a BG customer and recently moved house, transferring my account with me and payments are being made. The previous owner of this house did not have BG as their provider (SSE) so I'm a little confused where they've got the idea I or a previous owner owe BG money, since there have been no letters from BG.

    Should I just block the number?
    • magsdonaldson
    • By magsdonaldson 11th Aug 17, 2:21 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    magsdonaldson
    LCS Debt Recovery Company
    I have had a similar situation with this company and an outstanding debt with Scottish Gas. This debt of £36.39 is not ours as we had already moved from the premises over the period.

    In short, after sending all details, no less than three times, clearly showing that we were not responsible for this debt - and also providing details of the liable new owner - LCS continue to act as if we have had no communication with them at all.

    We have made a formal complaint about this harassment to the energy ombudsman who are now acting on the matter on our behalf. We will have no more contact with LCS.

    But I will keep the forum posted re the eventual outcome. If we ever get one!
    • fatbelly
    • By fatbelly 11th Aug 17, 8:34 PM
    • 11,539 Posts
    • 8,674 Thanks
    fatbelly
    I have had a similar situation with this company and an outstanding debt with Scottish Gas. This debt of £36.39 is not ours as we had already moved from the premises over the period.

    In short, after sending all details, no less than three times, clearly showing that we were not responsible for this debt - and also providing details of the liable new owner - LCS continue to act as if we have had no communication with them at all.

    We have made a formal complaint about this harassment to the energy ombudsman who are now acting on the matter on our behalf. We will have no more contact with LCS.

    But I will keep the forum posted re the eventual outcome. If we ever get one!
    Originally posted by magsdonaldson
    Given the discussion elsewhere on this forum at the moment I would suggest you complain to LCS, their 'trade body' the Credit Services Association and then report the result to the FCA.

    https://www.firstnow.co.uk/dispute

    http://www.csa-uk.com/assets/documents/forms/csa_complaint_form.pdf

    consumer.queries@fca.org.uk

    See also my post #262 referring to OFT & FCA requirements
    Last edited by fatbelly; 11-08-2017 at 8:40 PM.
    • norsefox
    • By norsefox 11th Aug 17, 10:24 PM
    • 72 Posts
    • 51 Thanks
    norsefox
    Not sure I've been contacted by LCS but I have had British Gas somehow manage to pass on my details to three separate collection agencies in the past 24 months.

    Each time they've had my correct name and most of my address. Problem is the address is for my building and not my specific flat.

    More importantly I'd never had an account with British Gas. I've threatened BG with a report to their ombudsman for harassment at the third referral and stated that I'd invoice them £20 for every hour of my time I spent dealing with these stupid requests + a nominal amount for every call/letter etc.

    Seems that BG and a few of the other energy companies have no clue what on earth they are doing.
    • magsdonaldson
    • By magsdonaldson 13th Aug 17, 1:23 PM
    • 2 Posts
    • 1 Thanks
    magsdonaldson
    LCS Debt Recovery Company
    Thanks for that Fatbelly
    • EveUK
    • By EveUK 22nd Aug 17, 3:05 PM
    • 1 Posts
    • 0 Thanks
    EveUK
    Thanks for this - I got one out of the extreme blue - checked with Google - found you. Now have reported them for phishing to my gmail account and blocked them. People - beware. Thanks again.
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